New group offers help for foster care ‘age outs’

Elizabeth Bailey

What started as a concerned student meeting with an adviser led to the group’s formation over the summer.

This fall marked the beginning of S.O.S. Networking for Success, a new student group on Northern’s campus.

S.O.S. Networking for Success is a student organization that provides mentoring and social networking for independent students at Northern Michigan University.

“We invite first generation students, young single parents, students that have been in the foster care system and any others who lack a family support system,” said S.O.S. founder Cassandra Evers.

Evers was a part of the foster care system, until she “aged out” and was left to fend for herself. She had to figure out how to take care of most things college students don’t think twice about.

Only two percent of children that have spent time in foster care get a college education. Evers said that is because they don’t have the resources that others have.

“(The group) helps students understand and navigate their way through college, learn and utilize resources within the community and also increase their confidence in a university setting,” Evers said.

That was the reason behind forming S.O.S., so members can share what has worked for them while they were on their own as well as tips that may benefit other members.

The group also provides a social network so members know they are not the only ones dealing with though situations.

“It’s embarrassing to have to ask simple questions like, ‘Where do you go for this?’ or ‘How do you apply for this?’ People look at you like you’re stupid,” Evers said. “No one should have to go through that.”

For more information, email Evers at [email protected].

“I know there are those that have been in the same situation as me,” Evers said. “But I’m hoping that those students who need help will find S.O.S. and utilize what we have to offer.”